Peter Hook & The Light @ Fairmount Theatre – April 30th, 2018

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Peter Hook & The Light

Peter Hook Montreal

There are few bands that stand the test of time like New Order and Joy Division.  Peter Hook and the Light brought both bands to life again to the sold out Fairmount Theatre, where they returned a year and a half after their last visit.  (See previous review)

Having attended both shows, I knew a few things:

  • I would be dancing
  • I would sing out loud (sometimes with the wrong lyrics)
  • I would be sweaty
  • I would have a smile on my face, even during depressing Joy Division songs

The last time I saw Peter Hook…I kept kicking myself that my wife and daughter could not share the experience with me.  I vowed to bring them, the next time they played, and so here we were, three-quarters of the family bridging a gap between generations.

Speaking with Fred Sabian after the show, he kept mentioning how cool it was that this was a family affair for us.  We bonded over my Amoeba Music, my San Francisco T-Shirt, as he used to work at the very location we just visited on our last SF trip.  As a vinyl expert, Fred explained that Amoeba used to be a bowling alley, back in the day.  When he quit that job, it was to tour with Marilyn Manson (Bass).

Peter’s son Jack Bates was not able to tour this time around, instead opting to join Smashing Pumpkins, so Fred was asked to join the tour and had to quickly learn a whole slew of New Order and Joy Division songs.

Peter chose to start the Joy Division set with Heart and Soul, which Fred had to learn during sound check!  We couldn’t tell.

What I love about Peter Hook is that he will play the hits everyone loves but will dig deep in the treasure chest of songs to unearth a few gems.

New Order Substance Set

They started the night off with “Lonesome Tonight”, not the Elvis song, but the B-Side to “Thieves Like Us”.

After “Everything’s Gone Green”, the third single from New Order, the band played the Substance Album in the order in which the 1987 release was recorded.

If anyone should carry the torch of New Order, it would be Peter’s signature bassline that resonates throughout the catalogue of songs.  Among the songs that got the crowd dancing were “Blue Monday”, “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “True Faith.”

The first 1 hour and 15-minute set pleased all in attendance and allowed us to relive some memories of our youth.

The crowd, mixed with those who grew up with New Order was also joined by a new generation that is just discovering these gems.  This cross-generational crowd celebrated songs from 1980 onward.

Joy Division Substance Set

Interestingly, for our trip back in time, we started with New Order before the 15-minute break, to end with the Joy Division Substance set.  Joy Division was formed in 1976 in Greater Manchester.  The iconic “Unknown Pleasures” cover artwork t-shirt was spotted on many fans, including my daughter.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the New Order set, I felt that the Joy Division set was where Peter really shined.  His voice resonated Ian Curtis in a way that only a close bandmate & friend could pull off.  Joy Division also let David Potts a.k.a. “Pottsy” shine on the guitar. Whereas Paul Kehoe (Drums) was sometimes replaced by looped drums for New Order, he was full time on the Joy Division set.

Peter Hook & The Light

From the lyrics of Heart and Soul:  “The Past is now part of my future.”  I wonder how Peter felt performing without Ian.  I felt his connection to his fallen friend, as he offered us songs like “Transmission”, “She’s Lost Control” and my personal favorite “Dead Souls”. My wife shed tears, being lost in the music of her past, the emotions flooding back, part tears of joy, mixed with tears of sadness.

John Peel played “Atmosphere” after announcing the death of Ian, and Peter dedicated this song to his lost friend as well.  “Don’t Walk Away” we sang…but it’s too late.

Sadly, Ian is one of many who have given up on life via suicide.  In the 80s, depression was not as easily understood as it is today.  Many beloved artists have followed a similar path, not reconciling their fame with cravings for belonging and comfort.  In fact, fame often propels them into a spiral of loneliness and isolation.

As I sang and danced to classic Joy Division songs, the emotion of all the ones we lost was not lost on me.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, I still had a smile.  Yes, we will miss these ones who left us way too soon.  On a night like tonight, we can remember them at their peak.  The peak of Joy Division arguably is “Love Will Tear Us Apart” that ended the night.  The crescendo of energy, feelings of loss and pure joy intertwined to send us off into the night remembering that we are loved.  If we are torn apart, we can be put together with the help of caring friends.  We don’t shy away from helping those we love.

We understand that depression is a disease like Cancer.  It doesn’t have to be one’s identity.  We don’t say to someone who has Cancer:  “They are Cancer!”  We instead say they suffer from Cancer.  The same is true with depression.  It does not have to be our identity, but simply something we have to deal with.

I’m happy we started with New Order and ended with Joy Division during our history lesson.  It allowed the show to end with an intensity that many bands simply can’t pull off. Tonight, Peter and the Light brought back to life classics that stand the test of time.

New Order and Joy Division embodies many emotions of darkness and pure joy and allows these feelings to be let free.  New Order evolved from the pain of Joy Division and gave life a chance. Peter Hook brought his own “Light” into our lives tonight, and for that, we thank him.

Peter Hook Setlist Fairmount Theatre Montreal
Peter Hook Setlist Fairmount Theatre Montreal

Peter Hook and the Light Montreal

Photos – Mark McNulty & Stefano Masselli

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